Cheryl, Bill, and Sarah headed back in Bill’s airplane at 7am (arriving in Minnesota around 10pm at night due to the bad weather) and Will and I were off to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studio’s Island of Adventure. We arrived around 10am and the place was already crowded, plus hot and humid. (Hint: if you go park in Valet parking! Its pricey but super close. Ticket prices are crazy expensive, so buy them at a discount online and then you will not need to wait inline to purchase). So we entered the park and hurried through Seuss Landing and The Lost Continent, to get to Harry Potter. You arrive in Hogsmeade where there is the Hogwarts Express train and all sorts of shops, like Honeydukes, Ollivanders Wand Shop, Zonks, Dervish and Banges, and Fliches Emporium of Confiscated Goods, sadly I did not see Dervish and Banges as the line was too long. Ollivanders was the best! After waiting inline for an hour you go inside and they have a little show and someone from the audience is picked to get their wand. All sorts of lights, sounds, and magic take place. Then about 10 minutes later you go inside the gift shop and you find an employee who will ask you some questions and then find the right wand for you. I was asked my birthday and was matched with a kind of a scary looking wand made out of Adler, which has a snake and a skeleton on it, but its also the longest wand available I was told. They also sell Hogwarts robes, ties, scarfs, Quidditch items, stamps, quills, stuffed animals, etc. Its hard to know where to look becuase there are so many things to see and look at (on the walls and ceiling and sometimes the things you see are moving!), plus all the people. So I purchased my wand and a few other times and then was off to the next item. All over Hogsmeade there are shop windows from other stores which are not open, but they have items in the windows that move or make noises. I also went into Honeydukes and bought some candy, like a chocolate frog and peppermint toads. We ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks where I had a frozen Butterbeer (which tasted like a cross between butterscotch and root beer and while very sweet was pretty good) and walked through the Hog’s Head. There are three rides in the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: the Dragon Challenge, the Flight of the Hippogriff, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I only went on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which is housed in the Hogwarts castle. While you wait inline some of the Hogwart ghosts and the Sorting Hat talk and tell you about the ride. The ride was wild! After you get strapped in, you follow Harry around Hogwarts dodging dragons, Dementors, see Ron and Hermione, fly across the Quidditch field with a game going on, almost get hit by the Whomping Willow, etc. It was very exciting and left me a bit nauseous, as it shakes you around a lot. I also had my photo taken with students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students, but did not see or hear the Frog Choir. After the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Will and I walked around the rest of the park: Jurassic Park, Toon Lagoon, and Marvel Super Hero Island. Will went on a bunch of the other rides and said they were really fun. Poor Will, it was my idea to go and see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and he kindly went along with it.
After we left Universal Studios we made our way to the Orlando airport and only got lost once! After I was checked in at the airport, I was told that the airport was closed to the bad weather. So I waited about an hour extra for my flight to leave (Will was on a different airline) and then we were trapped on the runway for an hour due to the Atlanta airport being closed due to bad weather. Thank goodness I had around a two hour layover in Atlanta, so there was some room to be late, plus I learned that the stewardess on the flight from Orlando were also on the Atlanta flight, so they could not leave without them! We were about an hour late getting in the Minneapolis airport and after being picked up around 2am, I finally made it home around 3am. Very long day!